Avatar: The Last Airbender | The Search (Part One) created by Bryan Konietzko and Michael Dante DiMartino, script by Gene Luen Yang, art by Gurihiru, lettering by Michael Heisler
To find out what prompts this eponymous ‘search,’ you’ll need to read the three-part Promise – which reveals how Aang and Zuko are actually family (surprise!), and why family matters so much. “Family is in essence a small nation, and the nation a large family … in treating a family with dignity, a ruler learns to govern his nation with dignity,” an elder expounds to a gathering of young leaders in the city of Yu Dao, “the prototype for a new kind of city, one that unites the four nations.”
Aang, of course, is there, as is Zuko … who is solemnly affected by the wise man’s words: “I put my father in a prison and my sister in an institution. My mother’s been banished for years. What does that mean for my nation?” Zuko questions. And so the all-important search begins … for answers, for family. [Speaking of family, how thrilled are we that 2006 National Book Award finalist Gene Luen Yang continues to script these all-new Avatar adventures?!!]
Once upon a time, Ursa and Ikem were in love, expecting to spend forever together. But then-Fire Lord Azulon had other plans, determined to bind his family line with that of then-Avatar Roku’s. And so the stage was set for destruction: Ursa wed Fire Prince Ozai, who forced her to cut off all ties to her family and her hometown of Hira’a. After Ursa bore two royal children, she disappeared without a trace.
Years later, Zuko is convinced that finding his mother is the only way to achieve lasting peace. He releases his violent, unpredictable younger sister Azula in exchange for vital information she has about their mother; at his request – and against their better judgment – Aang, Katara, and Sokka join the antagonistic siblings on a journey back to Hira’a … but answers, of course, are rarely obvious and family dysfunction is never easily overcome.
Zuko’s about to discover the secret of his life (literally!) … and, of course, when he does, the volume ends (!) right there (!!!) and we’re forced back to waiting, and waiting. At least June is only a month away, harrumph. Who made the mistake of insisting patience is a virtue?
Readers: Middle Grade, Young Adult